Tag Archives: HRC

Hero of the Week Award: November 16, United Parcel Service (UPS)

16 Nov

Hero of the Week

It’s a delight to honor another company doing the right thing and standing up for equality. This week United Parcel Service — the carrier known as UPS — ended all corporate funding of the Boy Scouts of America. The reason? The Boy Scouts’ steadfast refusal to stop discriminating against the LGBT community. This announcement appeared on the company’s website on Monday.

The UPS Foundation seeks to support organizations that are in alignment with our focus areas, guidelines, and non-discrimination policy. UPS and The UPS Foundation do not discriminate against any person or organization with regard to categories protected by applicable law, as well as other categories protected by UPS and The UPS Foundation in our own policies. These include, but are not limited to race, gender, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran or military status, pregnancy, age and religion.

UPS has been one of the top ten donors to the Scouts in the past. This action is in direct response to a campaign by Zach Wahls and GLAAD to put pressure on the Scouts to change their ways. Intel, the largest donor in 2010, agreed earlier this year to withdraw their support.

Both Intel and UPS score well in the updated Corporate Equality Index just released by the Human Rights Campaign. Intel scores a 96 (lacking some peripheral benefits for domestic partners) and UPS a 90 (losing points for a lack of fully transgender inclusive health insurance). The Index this year includes a record 688 companies. An amazing 252 of those score a perfect 100, up significantly from last year’s 189. Businesses are increasingly aware of the need to be responsible stewards and friendly workplaces.

It is nice to see progress being made towards inclusivity and fighting marginalization, unless you are a Boy Scout or Republican.


Happy Birthday, Sigourney Weaver

8 Oct

Happy Birthday, to Sigourney Weaver.  She is not just a brilliant actor, but she is a wonderful social justice activist as well.  While I love most of her work, I have to confess that one of my favorite movies she starred in was A Map of the World, also one of my favorite books. She’s run the gamut, from tough-as-nails woman in space in the Alien franchise ot the delightfully unlikable boss in Working Girl, from the tragic housewife in The Ice Storm to the washed-up action heroine in Galaxy Quest. She made history for her acting in 1988: she was the first person to win two acting Golden Globes in one year (Working Girl and Gorillas In the Mist). She also became the first actor to be nominated for lead and supporiting Oscars in the same year to win neither.

Weaver has built on her work in fiction to improve reality. After her role as Dian Fossey in Gorillas In the Mist she became a champion of Fossey’s work and is the honorary chair of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. She has expanded her animal rights and environmental work, speaking before the United Nations on the threats to ocean habitats posed by aggressive fishing practices. She is also a sponsor of Trickle Up, a non-profit organization focusing on those in extreme poverty, mainly women and the disabled. It’s wonderful to see someone using their talent and fame to make the world a better place.

As an added bonus, Weaver is a woman of 63 who is proud to wear her years. She is famously opposed to plastic surgery and other cosmetic treatments, having observed:

Actors’ faces have to move. I do think life should put lines on your face, or you’re not getting out enough.

In an age of artificial beauty and youth-obsessed culture, that healthy attitude is very welcome indeed. I find her even more beautiful today than ever!

I also want to congratulate Sally Field for being honored by the Human Rights Campaign for being such a strong ally to the LGBTQ community and supporting her openly gay son.

I also want to acknowledge one of my favorite writers.  On October 8, 1993, Toni Morrison became the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Beloved is one of the best books I have ever read.  Morrison is a National Treasure.

Shop Your Conscience: The 2011 Buying for Workplace Equality Guide

6 Feb

Spend to Support Your Community

The Human Rights Campaign has just released its 2011 buyers’ guide. This powerful tool rates companies on their treatment of LGBT employees and, by extension, consumers. The HRC has continued to refine its criteria, creating a very complex picture of corporate responsibility toward the LGBT community. It includes protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity, benefits provided, and actions taken that harm equality. The HRC prefaces its guide in this way:

Corporate social responsibility has become an imperative for a successful business. With Buying for Workplace Equality, we hope to harness that power by providing you with the most accurate review of a business’s workplace policies toward LGBT employees.

Take a look before you shop and compare similar companies.

  • Going grocery shopping? Whole Foods has a respectable 85, Trader Joe’s an embarrassing 15
  • Stocking up on other household goods? Costco rings up a 100, Wal-Mart crashes its cart at 40
  • Need home and garden supplies? Home Depot scores 85, Lowe’s a dismal 15
  • Want coffee and a snack? Starbucks is a perfect 100, Krispy Kreme a curdled 15
  • Going running? Nike just does it at 100, Adidas/Reebok limps in at 15

Some companies are a bit more difficult to judge. The recently infamous Target, for example, gets a perfect 100, but loses 15 points for its nefarious political contributions; the net 85 is still a very respectable score. Perhaps a decision based on where your local Target puts its contributions is a good strategy.

Even if LGBT rights aren’t your personal top barometer, this is a useful indicator of the employee friendliness and overall corporate responsibility of the places you shop. Looking at GoodGuide’s Vote With Your Dollars, companies that rate highly on the HRC list also do well in other categories. In an age of increasing corporate greed, it is very helpful to have a good place to turn when looking for the best places to shop, bank, and dine.

Of course, not every company can be found. HRC started with 1800 and has rated 615 so far. They will not provide even an unofficial rating (compiled without the help of the corporation) until they’ve done extensive research. Looking at the companies that are rated, however, I’m pleased to see how well our local companies do. Starbucks, Microsoft, Amazon.com, Costco, and Nike all score 95 or better.

While the HRC isn’t always perfectly responsive to the full LGBT community, they deserve thanks for their hard work and extremely useful information on this topic.

Human Rights Campaign: You can do better

29 Jan

My understanding of the HRC is that it is a lobbying group specifically for the LGBT community.  There are times when I can say I’m glad I donated money to this organization, but I must confess there are times when I feel like it is a rich white boy club–and I’m a white boy, but not rich.  I recently read that the HRC is going to be offering workshops to help transgendered people look for jobs, called the, “Back to Work: Empowering Transgender Job Seekers.”   While I think that is wonderful, it does seem like the HRC is throwing some crumbs to our transgendered brothers and sisters.  What about taking some action regarding how difficult it is for transgendered people to serve in the military, or even just going through airport security?  HRC, as a gay white man, I think you can do better by our transgendered sisters and brothers.  Read the full article here.

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